Thursday, January 13, 2011

Aligning your vision and beliefs, part 1

This post is part one of a three part series on vision, beliefs, and mission statements.  In part one, I will describe the connection between vision and beliefs.  Part two is a more detailed explanation of a beliefs statement and how to begin putting yours together.  The final part, part three, will examine mission statements and bring all three elements together.

In my previous post, You have to know where you want to go or else you’ll never get there, I offered a simple guide for refining and articulating your vision statement.  This statement is a description of your school’s preferred future.  Well written visions statements are also aligned with your school’s beliefs and mission.  Remember, resources tend to follow visions, so positive/inspiring language is always a good idea.

Aligning vision with beliefs is generally performed in one of two directions.  Either the vision statement came emerge from your beliefs or your beliefs can flow out of your vision.  Whichever is more comfortable for you is appropriate.

Although your vision is likely more generic than your beliefs and should be revisited more often than your beliefs, your vision should not go through continual revision.  Remember, it is hard to hit a moving target!

Here is a reflection exercise to help you with your vision statement.

Imagine the following:

It is five years from today’s date.  You have led your school marvelously and it has become the most desirable school you can imagine.  What do you see going on around you?

For more detailed guidance on crafting your vision statement, you can check out my recent post on vision statements.

In part 2 of this series, I will offer some ideas and guidance for refining your beliefs statement.  Until then, here are a few potential “vision killers” of which you should be aware as you examine your statement.

Be aware of these potential “vision killers”

Traditions that impede progress

Fear of ridicule

Stereotypes

Stakeholder complacency

Tired leaders

Short-term thinking

Naysayers

If you have recently reflected on your own vision of schools/leadership, then feel free to share your own insights into this process.  Feedback is always welcomed.

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